It is so easy for me to dig in my heels.
If I am honest, I realize it is mostly a pride issue. I have this desire to always be right. So when I am presented with a challenge, I tend to become even more hard-headed and reiterate my position. When I realize I am losing factually, I tend to try to make for it with increased volume. More noise = more right.
Now when it is an objective matter with facts, data, and analysis, I am usually quicker to come around to what is reality. It will sting a little bit. I may try to pass it off as, “I was given different information.” But for the most part, study and research and results will tend to lead me to acceptance.
But in the realm of subjective opinion: politics, theology, pop culture, I often find myself unwilling to listen to all sides.
I do try. And sometimes I succeed. But too often, I don’t.
For many of us, we probably assume some sort of enlightenment at having arrived at certain positions. If my theology changes over the course of my life, I say things like, “I have evolved and know more know than I did when I used to think what you do.” This, of course, is arrogance.
Other times, we may have been a victim of someone’s different opinion. Prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism are all positions and opinions that victimize others. If I have been such a victim, I may not be so willing to give people time or the benefit of the doubt. I would want to see progress. This comes from a place of pain and a desire for restoration.
Sometimes, we are just flat out silly and think that all people must agree with us on all things (but really, how could anyone not like the McRib?). This is foolishness.
Still other times may see us being so passionate about a certain topic that we just want everyone to come around to our way of thinking. We have become so excited, so committed to a particular agenda that we just believe everyone is going to share our excitement. This is naivete.
In all these instances, when we are challenged or presented with an alternative point of view, we go on the defensive. We fail to see others’ perspectives. We are afraid of losing something by giving in a little bit.
And there may be times when we shouldn’t give in. There is evil in this world and we should stand against it. There are victims in this world who need to have others come to their aid.
But too often, my defensiveness comes more from a place of wanting to be right more than wanting to be in relationship.
So whether it is my arrogance, my foolishness, or my naivete, I must remember to continually ask God to remove this from me. I need to close my mouth and open my ears. I need to remember that it is more valuable to be in relationship than to be right.
And this is a reminder I need daily. I am moving forward, but I must not stop.